7 ingredient quinoa "mac" and cheese | realfoodsimple.com

I really wanted to name this post easy, peasy quinoa-aroni and cheesy. But I decided to go a more classic route - quinoa mac and cheese.

Not only is this recipe simple, it only has 7 ingredients. (Oh, you already know that from the title.) If you were to use regular pasta, it actually only puts you at about 9, so you could still add another veggie or spice.

My intention in using quinoa was not...
Because it is a single ingredient.
It was not for health reasons.
Not because it has all the amino acids.
Not because it is gluten-free.
Not because it is trendy.

5 single use kitchen tools - you should throw away | realfoodsimple.com

I am a firm believer in making your kitchen clutter free so that it makes it easier to cook. I know that some people love gadgets and want to cook with as many tools as possible. If you are a gadget lover, this post might not be for you.

For me, having a few great tools that are good for several things means my kitchen stays clean, uncluttered and easy to navigate.

Here are 5 things that (I think) you do not need in a real food kitchen.

whole wheat chocolate chip cake cookies. These cookies are cake-like, not overly sweet, and have the best amount of chocolate chips. | realfoodsimple.com

So I know I have said this before, but now I am serious. These are the best cookies I have ever made. They are fluffy and cake-like, they didn't go flat, they are not overly sweet, they have the perfect amount of chocolate chips. They are truly perfect and were gone so quick I barely was able to get a picture.

And these chocolate chip cake cookies are made with healthier ingredients.

  • 100% whole wheat, but not at all heavy and dense
  • Less sugar than most recipes
  • Less chocolate chips and the chips I used only have 3 ingredients!!

I really do not think I even need to ever try another chocolate chip recipe (although I probably will). I can really foresee that these will be THE go to cookies that I make for every occasion.

If you like cakier cookies and don't need every bite to be overrun with chocolate chips, then this recipe is for you.

real food ingredients for cookies | realfoodsimple.com

Although I try to eat healthy most of the time, I love baking. Or maybe I just love eating the dough. Either way, baking is a part of me. Even though I would not consider cookies to be a healthy everyday food, I still like to use better ingredients when possible. 

Here is a list of some better ingredients to have in your pantry to decrease your exposure to toxins while still enjoying cookies.

simplifying your kitchen - the breadmaker | realfoodsimple.com
I am constantly trying to declutter my kitchen. I want the least amount of gadgets, utensils, equipment, possible.

Last week I talked about how I thought the garlic press was an unneeded tool with one use that could be accomplished with other tools. This week I am talking about my bread maker.

I have had this bread maker for over ten years. It is big and bulky and sits downstairs in the basement pantry most days of the month. I don't like how bread tastes cooked in it.


peanut butter and cocoa oatmeal bites - only 7 ingredients | realfoodsimple.com

It might be an understatement to say I am obsessed with making oatmeal bites. I cannot get enough of these simple, healthy, low sugar snacks. They only take about 20 minutes to make. They are all under ten ingredients, and they all taste amazing - if I do say so myself :)

I have made Pumpkin Oatmeal Bites and Pumpkin Cocoa Oatmeal Bites. 

But these peanut butter and cocoa oatmeal bites are one of my new favorites.

You can find the recipes at suzy+co

simple enchilada pie | realfoodsimple.com

So I was attempting to make corn tortillas. Should be super easy. It is basically corn flour and water. That is it. And yet somehow I could not perfect a tortilla. They were too thick (maybe I need a press?) they would fold when I tried to flip them, and the flavor was meh.

I was not going to waste food though. It seems like that happens a lot for me when I am attempting new recipes. So instead of continuing down the failed tortilla path, I thought maybe I could make a crust out of the corn dough and just put the toppings inside and bake it. And...


I love enchiladas, but making each one individually can be time consuming. So I usually opt for a casserole version. But now I have this option of enchilada pie.

This enchilada pie has all the great toppings that go in enchiladas, just in pie form. The crust only has one ingredient (if you don't count water, and I don't).


For the Crust
2 cups Corn flour
~ 1 cup warm water

For the Pie Filling
~2 cups meat - shredded chicken, pork, carnitas, taco meat
~1.5 cups enchilada sauce or a 28 oz can
~ 2 cups shredded cheese - cheddar and jack work great
1 can milk green chiles - diced
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup sliced green onion


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
For the Crust
In a bowl, combine the 1 1/2 cups flour and 3/4 cup warm water. The dough should not be too sticky and wet, nor should it be crumbly. Add flour and water to get a good consistency. Let the dough rest for about 30 minutes.
In a 9 inch pie pan, press the dough in so it forms a crust about 1/4 inch thick.

For the Filling
This is the easy part. You can really go in any order you would like. I usually layer these topping starting with the sauce.
Spread 1-2 spoonfuls of enchilada sauce on the crust.
Next, put a layer of meat. Use ~ 4-6 tablespoons.
Next, put another couple spoonfuls of the sauce.
Layer some shredded cheese.
Sprinkle some diced chiles, olives and onions over the cheese.

You can make as many layers as you would like. You don't have to go in the order that I put above, it just works for me. You can also change up the toppings to your liking.

Bake pie for about 30 minutes, until the cheese on top is nice and bubbly.

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simplifying your kitchen - the garlic press. Ask yourself, which tools do you really need to cook healthy, real food from scratch. A decluttered kitchen makes cooking easier and more enjoyable. | realfoodsimple.com
Not only do I like simple, real food, I also like a simple kitchen. Personally, I think that a decluttered kitchen makes cooking from scratch so much easier. And the more you cook from scratch, the healthier the food you eat will be.

So I have been trying to get rid of single use items. Those things that are really only good for one thing and don't seem to multitask. Like this banana slicer (you HAVE to read the reviews of it)

The garlic press is also one of them.

Some of you may think it is crazy* to not have a garlic press. Some may use theirs all the time. But I didn't. So I set out to see how much it actually gets used to see if I need it cluttering up a drawer.

I was going to keep a tally going for one month. I wasn't sure how many times I needed to use it to justify keeping it.

The month started on January 20th.

Yep, January 20th. What originally was going to be a 1 month experiment turned out to be over 7 months. And the number of times I have used the garlic press since January 20th...


I have not once taken it out of the drawer I was keeping it in.

Now I know that it is a tool that is just cluttering up a drawer in my kitchen and it is not needed.

If you are wondering if I have a tool to mince garlic, besides a knife, I do. I use a microplane zester for garlic. Plus it has so many other uses. The garlic press has one use. And it is a pain to clean out those little squares.

Is there a tool in your kitchen that is unused?

* My SIL and cousin think I am crazy for not having a garlic press. We had this discussion a couple weeks ago. My cousin not only has some fancy garlic press, she also has a contraption for mincing several heads of garlic all at once. 

If you want to know my must-have tools to cook real food from scratch, sign up for my newsletter and get the free guide. 

pumpkin cocoa oatmeal bites - only 6 ingredients and 20 minutes for this simple healthy snack | realfoodsimple.com

These pumpkin cocoa oatmeal bites only have 6 ingredients and take about 20 minutes start to finish!

Pumpkin season is my favorite time of year. I love pumpkin recipes, pumpkin decorations, and right now my little one's favorite book is Patty's Pumpkin Patch. We have read it about 50 times in the last few days.

Last week I posted my pumpkin oatmeal bites and they quite a hit. I still had some pumpkin left so I decided to create another version of them. I kept the recipe pretty similar. Why change a good thing?

But adding cocoa to these pumpkin bites really takes them to another level. I like them even more than the original!


1 cup pumpkin puree - 100% pumpkin, not pie filling
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp raw honey
2 eggs
2 cups rolled oats


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin, cocoa, cinnamon, honey, and eggs.
Add in the oats.
Roll the dough into balls about the size of a ping pong ball.
Bake at 350 for ~12-15 minutes.

They are perfect as a quick breakfast or a snack. Unfortunately, they just won't last very long since they taste so frickin good!

Are you looking for more simple, real food recipes to help you eat healthier? Subscribe and get a free guide by clicking below. 

linked to sheeats.ca
Pumpkin Cakies - a fluffy, cake-like cookie simply made from a cake mix and gluten-free | realfoodsimple.com

What are pumpkin cakies?

Cakies* is a term to describe cookies that are not as thin and crispy as a cookie. These are the type of cookies I prefer. Fluffier, lighter, and they tend to be not quite as sugary. For this particular cookie, I used a pre-made cake mix.

I love the idea of using a cake mix to make cookies. It is a simpler way to make cookies quickly. You might be saying to your computer screen right about now "Suzy, cake mix is NOT a real food!" True. There are many cake mixes out there that have a long list if ingredients you may want to avoid. But luckily there are some that are not as bad. The one I had in my pantry happened to be gluten-free, but you don't have to use a gluten-free mix. The mix I used for these cookies was...

why I do not eat far free dressing | realfoodsimple.com

...and I am hoping to convince you to avoid it as well for better ingredients and vitamin absorption.  

Although making homemade dressing is so simple and quick, I know that people will still buy pre-made dressings once in a while. In fact, I bought one not too long ago because I really was not in the mood to get all the ingredients to make the dressing I wanted. Believe me, I get it.

In choosing a dressing, I still looked at the ingredients list to find the least processed one I could find, but I completely avoided any label that said fat free. 

Here are a couple reasons not to consume fat-free dressing.
zucchini mock & cheese cupcakes - only 8 ingredients | realfoodsimple.com

This simple recipe for zucchini mac and cheese only has 8 ingredients* and can be a main dish or a side.

Using zucchini for macaroni in a macaroni and cheese dish is a great way to use up zucchini, get more veggies in, make a low-carb pasta, or just change things up.

These cupcakes can also be done in a casserole dish. Which sometimes makes clean up much easier. I hate cleaning cupcake tins. I think I need to spring for some of these pretty soon.
simple Greek yogurt taco dip - An easy and healthier dip with probiotics. | realfoodsimple.com

This taco dip takes 5 minutes to make and tastes great. Why is this healthy? Because by using greek yogurt as your base, you are actually getting some probiotics as well. And considering that this will probably be served with tortilla chips...at a party...with lots of appetizers...and other foods of questionable healthfulness, even a little healthiness can help.


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